Patricia McCoy has cared for her grandson, Chad, since he was a baby. Now an adventurous young man, Chad is an award-winning swimmer who loves horses. Chad also has autism, is deaf, and has difficulty sleeping through the night due to hypoxia.
When Chad was a baby, Patricia took him to see a variety of specialists and doctors. Speech and language therapists worked with him to learn American Sign Language. Today, Chad is receptive with ASL, but not expressive, which means that he understands it but does not always sign unless prompted. Chad also received a cochlear implant to help him hear, but he struggles to use it for an entire day. As Chad has grown up, Patricia has managed his treatment and tried many medications. Some of the medications caused burdensome side effects, so she has worked to find the right balance.
Patricia has also fought hard to ensure that he gets the therapy he needs. Chad was receiving in-home care from TennCare so that he could complete his therapies in a familiar environment. The nurses helped alleviate the burden on Patricia and provided Chad with high-quality, consistent treatment. The nurses cared for Chad, and he bonded with them.
Unfortunately, in July 2013 Patricia was told that Chad’s in-home nurse hours would be cut from 104 hours per week, down to only 20 hours per week. Frustrated and scared, Patricia reached out to the Tennessee Justice Center for help with filing an appeal from the denial of care. Luckily, she received an expedited appeal and with the help of TJC was able to get Chad’s in-home hours reinstated.
Patricia has fought for Chad his whole life, out of pure love and dedication. “I love Chad more than anything; he is the sunshine of my life,” Patricia said. It is because of her perseverance and compassion that we are honoring her as one of the Mothers of the Year.
Photo credit: Mark Mosrie